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A Killing

Katherine Faw Morris

COKE SMELLS COLD AND CHEMICAL LIKE THE INSIDE OF A REFRIGERATOR. It’s what back then smells like, now when she thinks of it.

Bakamonotako

Brenda Shaughnessy

‘Bakamonotako felt she didn’t need all eight of her appendages. Four would do.’

Spelling Problem

Lydia Davis

‘A woman from Barnard College calls me and asks if I would please spell ‘hemorrhaging’ for her.’

Birdie

Ann DeWitt

‘By the end of the summer, the city was fed up with our antics.’

Quarter Past Midnight

Marie-Helene Bertino

‘Flute-like, gauze-filled, late-afternoon sunshine. Rainbow bracelets on the carpet. They use their tongues to wet their lips. Girls.’

The Dogs

Yukiko Motoya

‘I once lived with a whole lot of dogs.’

Why I Can No Longer Look at a Picnic Blanket Without Laughing

Yukiko Motoya

‘But the customer had already been in the changing room for three hours.’

Eyes That Have Seen the Sea

Tomás González

‘He had just finished unpacking his rucksack, new only ten days ago and now a sodden, salty, decomposing rag, when they called him.’

Dangerous

Joy Williams

‘Grief knows how to love them because we don’t know how to do it any more.’

The Family Friend

Julia Franck

‘We’ve got a lot of family friends but Thorsten has been coming round far too often recently and I wonder whether I shouldn’t tell her that sometime.’

Exotics

Callan Wink

‘He’d come to tell her that he was leaving. It seemed rather impossible now – the telling, not the leaving.’

After the War, Before the War

David Peace

‘At last, at last. His first steps, on Chinese soil.’

Grandma and Me

Thomas McGuane

‘Barring weather or a World Series game, on Sundays I’d pick up a nice little box lunch from Mustang Catering and take Grandma some place that smelled good.’

Pig Skin

Andrés Felipe Solano

‘A perfect impostor.’

Eight Trains

Alberto Olmos

‘To go is always to go somewhere; returning, you return to nowhere. That’s the way it is.’

Satanás

Olivia Clare

‘I dislike sleep, he told the girl, matches keep me awake.’

Japan Lights

Sarah Moss

‘She kneels and bows her head almost to the floor, as if pretending he’s one of her idols.’

O-bakanaru

Eric Ozawa

‘When your wife walks away from you, she does not disappear. When you turn your back, she does not vanish. She will be there when you open your eyes.’

Relic Light

Eric Gamalinda

‘Unconfirmed stories that have been retold so often they acquire the polish of truth, like the rosary beads people here carry in their pockets and pull out whenever the need for reassurance arises.’

Domain

Louise Erdrich

‘Seven corporations control the afterlife now, and many people spend their lives amassing the money to upload into the best.’

Bucket of Eels

Mitsuyo Kakuta

‘I was gazing into my empty bowl and realizing how little time it takes to eat when you’re not carrying on a conversation.’

Variations on a Theme by Mister Donut

David Mitchell

‘But what if he answers in Martian? I’ll die.’

Ghosts

Brian Hart

‘The road pleasantly gained and lost elevation, flood gauges in dry washes and scraggy hilltops, corners that begged for two wheels not four.’

Blasphemy

Fatima Bhutto

The tourists are gone. They’ve fled to Islamabad, along with the landlords and the hoteliers and the battalions of police that used to defend them, and certainty has left with them.

My Mother’s Death Party

Ben Janse

‘When I was eleven I fell out of a tree. This is why I can see into the future.’

Books and Roses

Helen Oyeyemi

‘A golden chain was fastened around her neck, and on that chain was a key.’

Zoraida

Tanya Rey

‘Desire was a slapping, bone-chilling wind the likes of which did not exist this close to the equator.’

Sand

John Biguenet

‘The catastrophe had not happened to all of us, we began to understand, but to each of us.’

Spider Lilies

Hiroko Oyamada

‘The breeze smelled of many things: autumn and earth, the green of the countryside, face powder and old age.’

The Ferryman Is Dead

Saša Stanišić

Here, more die than are born. There’s a refrigerator at the bottom of the lake. The ferryman is dead. No one is coming to take his place.

Smartening Up

Aoko Matsuda

‘‘Let’s become monsters together,’ she said, looking straight into my eyes.’